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Eur J Cell Biol. 1990 Oct;53(1):101-11.

Reflection confocal laser scanning microscopy of eyespots in flagellated green algae.

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Botanisches Institut, Lehrstuhl I, Universität, Köln/Bundesrepublik Deutschland.


The reflection properties of different types of eyespots in three unicellular, flagellated green algae (Tetraselmis chui, Chlamydomonas eugametos, Hafniomonas reticulata) were investigated using confocal laser scanning microscopy in the epireflection mode. The eyespots differed with respect to the number of eyespot lipid globule layers and surface appearance (concave/convex). A strong reflection signal was observed in all eyespots, and a detailed quantitative analysis by optical xy (horizontal) and xz (vertical) sectioning was performed. By applying both sectioning capabilities, multi- and single/double-layered eyespots as well as concave and convex eyespot surfaces could be distinguished using living, immobilized cells. Focusing of the reflected light was only observed in eyespots with concave surfaces. In xz series of multi-layered eyespots at reduced laser intensities (0.01%), the intensity profiles of the reflection revealed a series of alternating maxima and minima with increasing reflection intensities toward the cell surface. At very low laser intensities (0.001%), multi-layered eyespots exhibited about twice the reflection intensity at the presumptive photoreceptor site compared to single/double-layered eyespots. Our results provide the first experimental evidence to support the proposal that multi-layered eyespots act as interference reflectors in photoaxis of green algae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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